In the past 18 months New South Wales hospitals have reported more than 180 incidents of workers stealing drugs—and in 25% of cases oxycodone was the drug being swiped. The numbers—released yesterday through a public information access act—also show that so far this year six nurses have been caught with “addictive drugs.” They were consequently stripped of their licenses. One nurse apparently locked herself in a bathroom and was found unconscious with a needle in her arm. Blood tests showed she had taken a bizarre cocktail of morphine, Versed—a drug used to induce “twilight sleep” during outpatient surgical procedures—and metaclopramide, an anti-nausea drug. As well as morphine, the substances being stolen include Demerol and fentanyl, used in Australia primarily for cancer treatment. Paul Dillon, the director of Drug and Alcohol Research Training Center Australia, noted the black market for the drugs stolen and voiced the opinion that most of the drug-pilfering workers down under are selling them: “[Stealing] oxycodone would be about money.”
A Mexico-bound Colombian "submarine" with five men and 7.5 tons of cocaine on board was seized last week, US coast guards have announced. The crew managed to sink their vessel at the first sign of trouble on July 13, after it was spotted by a US Coast Guard plane off the coast of Honduras. Believing their stash was secure, they attempted to escape on a yellow life raft but were detained. Searching with sonar equipment, FBI, Coast Guard and Honduran Navy divers finally found the submerged storeroom on July 26—salvaging most of its $180 million cargo from 50 feet beneath the waves before the fish could get hooked. The boat is a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS). Such vessels are typically built in the jungles of Colombia by paramilitary trafficking groups and are made of fiberglass and wood to evade radar detection. The craft can hold between four and five people and up to 10 tons of cargo. They are usually under 100 feet long and can travel up to 5,000 miles. SSPS vessels have been operating since the mid-90s, authorities say, and transport up to a third of the region's cocaine. The five defendants are being detained in Tampa, Florida, awaiting hearings on charges of possession of cocaine with intention to distribute in the US. This was the first capture of an SPSS in the Caribbean and the first underwater drug removal in US Coast Guard history.
- Caffeinated Beer Ban Signed by Governor [LA Times]
- Amy Winehouse was Adopting a 10-Year-Old When She Died [Gawker]
- The Anorexia Victims Aged 5: Doctors Blame Ultra-Slim Celebs [Daily Mail]
- Police Seek Suspect in Manchester Pharmacy Oxycodone Robbery [Bangor Daily News]
- No Jail for Amphetamine-User Who Left Kids in 104 Degree Car [BBC]
- Alcohol, Drugs Factors in Fatal Coors Field Fall [CBS News]
- Chocoholic Giant Fish Gorged on Kit Kats [Sky News]
Mexican police say a man they arrested as a suspected leader of the Juarez cartel—an organization based in Mexico's most violent city that controls major drug smuggling routes across the US border—has admitted ordering over 1,500 killings in Chihuahua state. Jose Antonia Acosta Hernandez, 33—a former police officer better known as "El Diego"—is believed to have run "La Linea," a muderous gang that operates as the cartel's enforcement wing. He is blamed for a catalog of crimes, including a car bombing and the massacre of 15 people—mostly teenagers—at a party in Ciudad Juarez last year. Other alleged victims include police officers, government officials, rival gangsters and civilians. He is wanted in the States in connection with the murder of US consulate employee Lesley Enriquez, 35, who was pregnant when she was gunned down alongside her American husband as they left another Ciudad Juarez party in 2010. Edouardo Pequeno, head of the Mexican federal police anti-drug unit, said El Diego also ordered the hanging of banners threatening the DEA—which collaborated in the operation leading to his arrest—and other US agencies. A reward of 15 million Mexican pesos ($1.3 million) was on offer for information leading to his capture. El Diego was paraded in front of the media yesterday, following his arrest on Friday. Mexican President Felipe Calderon tweeted that the capture was "the biggest blow" to organized crime in Ciudad Juarez since he sent 5,000 troops to the city last April.
New claims are disputing the "fantastic recovery" described by Amy Winehouse's family, who believe acute alcohol withdrawal was the cause of the singer's death. Tony Azzopardi, a 56-year-old "fixer" from Camden, North London, told the UK Daily Mirror that he arranged for Winehouse to buy a large quantity of crack and heroin the night before she died. He said the singer pulled up alongside him in a black taxi outside a pub at 11:30pm on Friday July 22, and that he went with her to West Hampstead to call a local "Mr Big". He claims she paid £1,200 for half an ounce of crack and half an ounce of heroin, before dropping him off in the early hours of Saturday morning. Azzopardi—who has been interviewed by police and is meeting detectives again today—said that he became friends with Winehouse through her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, who is currently in prison. The singer's body was found at 4pm on Saturday August 23—doctors said she had already been dead for several hours. Amy's father Mitch said that she was at home playing the drums on the night before her death and police said they found no evidence of drug use at her home. But witnesses claim to have seen her that evening outside Camden bar The Good Mixer. The toxicology test results that may solve the mystery are not due for some weeks.
As viewers can attest, The Real Housewives is not a sandbox where the kids play nicely. Still, certain lines—say, the anonymity of those in 12-step programs—were never crossed. Until now. In tonight’s Real Housewives of New York reunion, the subject of Ramona "Pinot Grigio" Singer's relationship with her beloved vino comes up yet again. She uses her standard deflections—she’s only promoting Ramona Pinot, she doesn’t drink any more than when she first started the show, most of the scenes document the women at social occasions, she’s a victim of editing—while we see Jill Zarin rolling her eyes and muttering. Then Andy reads out part of Zarin’s blog post from June 4th. “Drinking and promoting alcohol in such an unhealthy way is a terrible image to present as a mother of a 16-year-old,” Cohen reads. “Ramona said she only drinks one to two glasses at dinner? Should I go back through the four years of tape and call out every time she drank without food? She is only lying to herself.” Before anyone can offer a wise word about alcoholism being self-diagnosed, Singer busts out with disingenuous comments about how she respects Zarin, before announcing, “I know at times you had problems, you went to AA, you had an alcoholic problem. But just because you did doesn’t mean I do." Holy anonymity breakage! We’ll have to wait until tonight to see where Zarin takes it from there, but really, does anyone win in the Housewives bottle battle? Here's a clip: